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Leashes & Lifejackets on SUP - When to Wear Which

Did you know that there are different kinds of leashes for different water venues?
- This is a coiled leash.
- This one is a hybrid leash.
- And this is a straight leash.
- Here we have a series of quick release leashes.
Wearing the wrong leash in certain venues could prove fatal, so know which one to wear in the waterway that you're paddling.

Another important piece of equipment for stand up paddle boarding is a life jacket. Majority of the time, it makes sense to wear it. However, did you know there is one venue where it can actually be dangerous? Here we've got some examples:
- This is an inflatable belt packed life jacket.
- This is a type three inherently buoyant life jacket.
- And this is a type five special use (or rescue) life jacket. Notice it has a quick release harness system.
Learn what type of life jacket to wear when you SUP.

For calm flat water stand up paddle boarding an inflatable belt pack life jacket and a coiled leash are appropriate pieces of equipment. A coiled leash can either be worn on your ankle, or it can be worn on your calf.

On this multi-use water way, a coiled leash or a hybrid leash, and an inflatable belt pack make a lot of sense. For SUP surfing a straight leash is crucial. It allows you to maintain control of your board after falling and it does not have the elastic quality of a coiled leash that may send the board back toward you in the surf zone. In addition, it prevents the board from getting washed into shore.

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Surfing in the ocean requires considerable swimming ability. Wearing a life jacket while actively surfing can be dangerous for two reasons:
1. you'll be unable to swim underneath the waves.
2. when you fall from your board, your head and neck will be near the surface and potentially very close to the hard rails of the board and the sharp points

In moving water rivers, wear an inherently buoyant life jacket. If you make an informed, educated decision to use a leash in moving water, it must be a quick release attached to your waist area and must be reachable with both hands.

When surfing in white water, wearing and inherently buoyant life jacket like this one is a must. In addition, a helmet, elbow pads, and knee pads are important pieces of equipment. If you're paddling white water in a large volume river with deep rapids, swift moving current and free of many natural or man made obstructions, you might consider wearing a leash. Should you choose to make this educated and informed decision, there's two key things you should remember:
1. the leash should attach to your waist area, not your ankle or calf.
2. it must be accessible with both hands in case you need to activate it.

In cold weather, consider an inherently buoyant life jacket. It'll keep you warmer on the board and in the water.

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